The Virgin Islands National Park includes 7200 acres of land and 5600 acres of underwater lands. It encompasses over half the island of St. John and almost all of Hassel Island. All together it is one of the most undisturbed and comprehensive Caribbean landscapes. There are several significant historical sites including archaeological sites that date as early as 840 BC. The large span of the park means that it covers a variety of ecosystems and forest types from dry to moist forests, salt ponds, beaches, mangroves, seagrass beds, coral reefs, and algal plains. Much of the vegetation on the island is second generation growth as the original vegetation was clear-cut to make way for sugar cane production. Some native species of tyre palm remain, but much of today's growth consists of introduced The animal species on St. John are abundant with 140 species of birds, 302 species of fish, 7 species of amphibians, 22 species of mammals, and many species of insects. The National Park's marine areas are also quite diverse with hundreds of species of fish and beautiful coral reefs that are open to visitors.
|Traveled up to Trunk Bay and the Underwater Snorkling Trail which is part of the Virgin Islands National Park.|
|Along the way was some beautiful scenery.|
|We would be driving along and then the trees would part to show beautiful views!|
|Most of the drive through the Park was surrounded by lush vegetation.|
|After a morning of snorkling, back in Cruz Bay we found the only ice cream place. Yum.|
|Part of Cruz Bay.|
|St. John as we leave on the ferry to St. Thomas.|
Some websites to find out more about the history of St. John:
St. John Historical Society
VInow's St. John History Page
The Beach's St. John History Page
And I really recommend looking around the National Park Service's Virgin Islands National Park website. It includes some great natural science information as well as links to other great websites, field guides, and animal and plant checklists.